[a]16 Horsepower[/a] fear Satan. They really do. But they also fear God. It’s a difficult theological position to be in. Maybe it’s why they perform in a trance, as though in an ecstasy of death and ol’-time religion. They look like the undertakers in a spaghetti western and they play instruments that look older than the nation from which they hail (and are quite possibly hewn from the bones of the Confederate dead).
It’s an alternative country sermon here tonight. [a]Son Volt[/a], Scud Mountain Boys and Palace all seem fey and lightweight in comparison with this. Denver’s wandering minstrel preachers, led by David Eugene Edwards (literally, the son of an Appalachian Baptist preacher) seem from another time. A time of gingham, Bibles and lengths of rope dangling ominously from trees.
On ‘Strawfoot’ and ‘Prison Shoe Romp’, they’re Nick Cave‘s wet dream brought to life, but their waters run colder and deeper during Bob Dylan‘s ‘Nobody ‘Cept You’ and we’re right down in the cold, cold ground as violins howl and a Mexican accordion rumbles through ‘Splinters’. Tonight, [a]16 Horsepower[/a] are beautifully smoky and opaque. Frozen in time, but always thawing in the heat of their elegant noise. This is alt-country’s old testament.